Comic: ‘Plastic in Paradise’ - We can’t sail away from our plastic waste problems. The reality of cruising the world now is finding no paradise untouched by human plastic waste.

What I’ve been up to in my cave: If you are a regular reader of my comic newsletter you may have been wondering what the heck happened to me since the last comic. Don’t fret my salty friends! I haven’t stopped drawing sailing & cruising comics, they’ve just been less frequent because my family ‘The Sea Monkeys’ have been on a mission stopping the plastic flow into our ocean home.

Before we left Australia to sail the world back in 2015, I only had visions of us playing on deserted pristine beaches on lush tropical islands and crystal clear water. But the reality is more like this: plastic debris washed up on every beach, micro-plastics and plastic tides often float in streams past our boat. It’s a distressing sight and has tainted this otherwise incredible adventure.

Even as we sailed the remotest parts of Australia, there were piles of plastic above the tide line. We decided that it didn’t feel right to keep cruising and not try to do something about it.

After years of sailing Asia, talking to many locals and working on ideas to make an impact to stop the plastic flow, we ended up creating The Sea Monkey Project - led by our fearless daughter Sydney, a passionate Ocean Advocate. She is the leader but we all contribute. Skipper (Carlos) builds plastic recycling machines, Indi (11) creates animated plastic awareness videos, and helps with workshops, Sydney (14) leads the way, helps build the machines and does talks (she obviously didn’t inherit my deep fear of public speaking). My contribution is creating ocean plastic education comics for kids, which I somehow manage to squeeze in between my freelance work.

So far we have six machine sets in communities - one on Jersey Island in the UK, the other 5 are on islands here in Asia. The idea behind setting up the machines in communities near the sea, is to create cottage industries that put value on the plastic waste. If the locals can lift their income by collecting plastic from beaches, sea and sidewalks and also being paid to upcycle the plastics into something more valuable, then it has a chance to be sustainable. Benefiting both locals and the environment.

If you want to find out more about The Sea Monkey Project or would like to support the project head over to our website: www.seamonkeyproject.com

Ahoy there salty sea scallops! The SY Sea Monkey gathers mementos as we sail about. Some are friends, some are tools and spare parts, others are not so obvious. These are our treasures of inspiration I collect from books and magazines written by other cruisers who have lived or are still living the sailors life. I have stuck my sticky little notes on the pages of books and sailing mags, where something has struck a chord. Today, I have picked up my ''round-tuit'' and I’m going to share them here, so that you too, can feel lifted, inspired or just have a damned good laugh!

This quote was from a page I tore out of a Cruising Helmsman Magazine - I can't remember the name of the article because I tore out the second page and gave the mag back to my Father-in-law, it was about doing a passage written by Heather Francis and I enjoyed it a lot.

By Sarah Steenland